Thursday, February 7, 2013

Red to Kill (Billy Tang, 1994)

If you mess with Ming-Ming, Yum-Yum will fuck-fuck your shit up. I'll admit, when I first came up with that line, I was beaming with pride. Poking gentle, non-racist fun at the repetitive nature of the lead character's name, I thought to myself: Now that's how you kick off a review for a brutal rape revenge flick. Then it suddenly dawned on me, Rob Schneider had already beaten me to the punch. You see, in the Rob Schneider vehicle, The Hot Chick, the incomparable Jodi Long says, "Ling Ling, don't forget your bling bling," to her jewelry-forgetting, bi-racial daughter. As you'd expect, my heart sank the moment I recalled this line's existence–a line, by the way, that is probably one of the most memorable lines to be uttered in a movie so far this century. I mean, not only does the line have two words that are repeated, "ling" and "bling," but both words rhyme. In hindsight, I should have went on that pre-planned tangent about Ming-Ming's red panties; which I still might do, as red panties are in my wheelhouse. However, I don't regret my misguided fling with that whole Ming-Ming-Ling-Ling thing. It just goes to show that nobody should underestimate the comedic genius that was Rob Schneider circa 2002. Enough about my grammatical angst, let's talk about Red to Kill, yet another nasty slice of Category III goodness/cinematic unpleasantness to land squarely on my non-existent desk with a resounding thud. As with the majority of Category III films that have crossed paths with my eyeballs so far, this particular film, directed by Billy Tang, is filled with the sex, the violence, and the inappropriate humour I've come to expect from early '90s Hong Kong cinema. In other words, it's your typical Category III film.
Whoa! Hold on there, buddy. Where do you get off calling Category III films "typical." I'm sorry, but I don't like this jaded version of you. Yeah, you're right. That did come off as a tad jaded. Don't worry, it won't happen again. Let me try to muster some of my trademark wide-eyed enthusiasm. But remember, not too much enthusiasm. Why's that? Oh yeah, the film is about raping tards. Fuck yeah, "raping tards." Now that's the kind of un-PC language I like to hear. Yeah, but that's what the film's about. It doesn't matter. I liked the blunt manner in which you stated it. Anyway, there's nothing "typical" about Red to Kill, it's an in-your-face horror film about a mentally challenged woman who is tormented by a psychopath who goes all Roy Batty at the end of Blade Runner ("Six! Seven! Go to Hell or go to Heaven!") whenever he sees a woman wearing the colour red. Similar to the way a bull gets agitated by a matador's cape, the sick fuck at the centre of the cinematic bullring wants to gore women in red not with his horns, but with his erect penis.
The film's opening scene prepares us for the brutality to come, as a woman in red is raped by a musclebound assailant whose face is obscured. While the victim's unconscious body twitches as a direct result of the rapist's unasked for thrusts, a mother jumps to her death, taking her young son with her on another floor. In the case of the latter incident, Ka Lok Cheung (Money Lo), a woman who works for the welfare department, tries to stop the woman from jumping, but her attempt obviously failed.  
Rape, murder, suicide, I'm only five minutes into this thing and I'm already depressed. Don't worry, Ming-Ming (Lily Chung), the mildly retarded girl who can turn the world on with her mildly retarded smile, is about to make her first appearance. And if there's anyone who can cheer you up, it's Ming-Ming! Oh, great. It seems the only reason Miss Cheung is going to see Ming-Ming is to tell her that her dad is dead. And get this, she breaks the bad news to her just as Ming-Ming is about to feed her fish. Poor Ming-Ming.
Since there's no-one to take care of her, Ming-Ming is sent to stay at the very same building where rapes and murder suicides are a nightly occurrence. Introduced to the kindly Mr. Chan (Ben Ng), a man who helps run a sort of retardation retreat for wayward tards, Ming-Ming soon learns that she will be packing balls for the Kowloon Ball Factory. While she puts on a brave face, Ming-Ming doesn't really want to work with balls. No, what Ming-Ming really wants to do is dance. And since she can't dance, Ming-Ming runs away. Finding her at hiding in her old apartment, Miss Cheung convinces Ming-Ming to return to the retardation retreat/ball packing factory by promising her to help train to be a dancer.
Her dream is to qualify to compete in a dance competition being held in Belgium. And if anyone dares stand in her way of realizing that dream, I'm going to throw the world's biggest hissy fit.
Packing balls and practicing her dances moves, Ming-Ming seems to be adjusting well to her new surroundings. Sure, a chubby pervert comes close to feeling her up in the ball room, but Ming-Ming is so innocent and pure that she doesn't even realize that she almost got molested. Do you think the chubby pervert is one raping the women in red? Nah, this guy is all flab, the rapist in question is ripped. Besides, the chubby pervert just wants to squeeze Ming-Ming's perky melons.
In order to remind us that there is in fact a rapist out there, a woman in red is attacked on the stairs. It could have been Miss Cheung (she was wearing a red t-shirt), but the woman who was actually attacked came along just in time. Thankfully, this attack isn't shown in graphic detail. Like I said, it's just thrown in there as a gentle reminder.
Even though she's only been there a week or so, all the other tards love Ming-Ming. And why wouldn't they? She's Ming-Ming: the epitome of adorable.
Pleased by the progress Ming-Ming has made as a dancer, Miss Cheung can be seen beaming with pride. While Ming-Ming is right to thank Miss Cheung for helping her, it's Miss Cheung who should be thanking Ming-Ming, as Ming-Ming enriches the lives of everyone she comes in contact with.
While I'm happy as a clambake gone awry by Ming-Ming's turnaround, the film insists on showing us a dark figure stalking the halls of the building to eerie synthesizer music. This cannot bode well for Ming-Ming. At any rate, remember that chubby pervert? Well, he's beaten by a mob, a tard-fearing mob, who accuse him of trying to rape a little girl, one who just happened to being wearing all red. However, we all know he's not the rapist. Again, this cannot bode well for Ming-Ming. Hello, this is your captain speaking. We should be landing in Saskatoon in about four hours. In meantime, please enjoy our in-flight movie: Red to Kill, a Hong Kong thriller about a sexy special needs woman who is tormented by a musclebound rapist. Oh, and just reminder. When you see Ming-Ming, the lovable retard with the legs of a dancer, wearing red panties, this will not bode well for her.
Why, Ming-Ming, why? What compelled you to wear red panties on the same day you decided to roll around on the floor (rolling on the floor, by the way, is one of the leading causes of accidental red pantie exposure) in front of a rapist whose raping ways are triggered by retards and non-retards in red clothing? Sure, they [the red panties] went with your outfit, but your outfit was...Ahhh, Ming-Ming!!! You stupid tub of unfrozen...Whoa, back off, buddy. No one talks about Ming-Ming that way. Not on my watch. Your watch?!? Your watch is my watch. Oh yeah. Whatever, man. It sounds like you're blaming Ming-Ming. And I should inform you that blaming the victims of rape for being raped is not even close to being cool. In fact, it's downright heinous.
What kind of retard wears red panties around a rapist who rapes women who don the colour red? Well, first of all, she doesn't know he's a rapist. And second, the rapist's proclivity for reddish clothing is not a well known fact. In other words, I don't want to hear anymore of this nonsense about it being Ming-Ming's fault. You of all people should know that Ming-Ming is the personification of human goodness; her face should be added to Mount Rushmore.
So, does Ming-Ming get raped or not? Uh, I'd rather not say. Okay, this is awkward. Tell us a little something about the trial? What trial? The trial of Ming-Ming's rapist. Yeah, you know, nah. It's too painful. All right, how 'bout the pube-shaving scene? You're joking, right? I'm not describing that. Let me see. Oh, I got it. Do you know the part where Miss Cheung tries to lure the rapist into a trap by tempting him with a red dress complete with red opera gloves? Yes. Well, could you possibly go on a nonsensical tangent about that? Nonsensical, eh? I think I can swing that.
Sitting at the bar of a local tavern, the musclebound rapist is enjoying a post-mistrial pint of lager when, all of a sudden, a woman in red orders a bloody mary. The woman ordering the bloody mary has her back turned, so the rapist has no idea who this woman in red is. However, that all changes the moment she does turn to around to reveal that she is Ming-Ming's number one fan, Miss Cheung. As you would expect, the rapist is not amused by this ruse. Nevertheless, he can't help but be turned on by the way the red dress hugs Miss Cheung's Cantonese curves. Toying with the rapist, Miss Cheung employs a subtle leg cross to get his juices flowing. The leg cross becomes not-so subtle upon further inspection, as Miss Cheung's legs are clearly sheathed in pantyhose that sparkle. Pantyhose can sparkle? You bet it can. And Miss Cheung hopes that her glimmering, shimmering, twinkling hose will send the rapist over the edge.
Even though he resists her initial attempt to entrap him, the rapist does end the evening by shoving an entire tray of ice cubes down the front of his underpants. Baby steps, as they say. At any rate, talking about Money Lo and her glittery tights was good therapy for me, as it briefly allowed me to forget the painful horrors that this film puts out there on a regular basis. Oh, Ming-Ming.


  1. I was going to mention this movie, maybe with some other CATIII movies. I will mull it around and get back to you.

    This movie is fucked up. The scene where she cries in the shower bleeding after getting raped made me feel sad inside. I need to rewatch this.

  2. Jesus motherfucking Christ on a crutch.

  3. @T-Duke: I await the results of your CATII-based mulling with bated breath.

    The ending is the saddest thing ever.

    @ido: Okie dokie. :)

  4. @yum-yum: i was going to write this really long thing, but it got too personal. sexual violence against women is fucked up. even in films i like, such as "Joshu Sasori", it bothers me a lot. At least there, they don't show it in detail. Ultimately, Kaji Meiko's character of Nami is dynamic and strong enough to get revenge through annihilation, even though she is unable to destroy the misogynistic system that lead to her rape and imprisonment. Another key film is Bergman's "The Virgin Spring." I think that film says it all. I've only been able to watch it once. I still haven't watched it remade as "Last House on the Left."

    Rape of mentally handicapped women? Jesus motherfucking christ on a crutch. The sick and sad thing is that it happens way too much. And it isn't some musclebound nutjob acting on his own. Its the staff (usually male) at the homes and hospitals that care for the mentally disabled and otherwise handicapped, and often isn't reported.

    great, now i've depressed myself even more.

    if this movie was the usually Category III ghost possession thing with people throwing up real worms and bugs, i wouldn't have given a fuck.

  5. Note to self: Review more romantic comedies. ;)

    One of my most popular keyword searches is "nazi penis experiment."

  6. did you see this trailer we made?